The College of New Caledonia (CNC)’s Board of Governors approved a two-per-cent domestic tuition and mandatory fees increase for the 2020-21 academic year during its last regular meeting of 2019, held Dec. 6 at the Prince George Campus.
A report from the provincial government called The Cost and Return Investment of Post-secondary Education shows a two-per-cent annual increase for domestic tuition is standard for colleges in British Columbia, CNC noted in a press release, which was distributed Dec. 9.
The report shows the average for tuition fees at CNC for 2019-20 was $2,776, the second-lowest of the 11 B.C. colleges listed. The average for B.C. colleges in 2019-20 is listed as $3,047.
“Tuition fee increases are a direct response to continued cost pressures and are necessary to cover fixed costs,” Tara Szerencsi, CNC’s Vice-President Finance and Corporate Services, said in the press release. “CNC is mindful of costs for students with tuition fees that remain among the lowest in the province.”
At the Dec. 6 meeting, CNC’s Board of Governors also approved a three-per-cent increase to international tuition and mandatory fees for the 2020-21 academic year. CNC has not increased international tuition fees since August 2016.
“In part, we’ve fallen a little behind in not increasing fees the last four years,” Szerencsi said during a follow-up phone interview Dec. 9. “We do recognize tuition and mandatory fees have an impact on students, so we wanted to have a balanced approach. We kept the increase modest.”
Szerencsi says another change is that in 2016, the international tuition fees were directly embedded in the college’s budget process, which meant they were approved in April each year, which did not give students very much time to plan and budget.
“This time, we’ve taken it directly out and that gives them more time to plan and budget, as well,” she said.
During the meeting, the Board also approved a motion directing revenues generated from both the domestic and international tuition increases be noted in the 2020-21 budget and invested directly into services supporting students.
“There are things we can do to help students,” said Szerencsi.
Szerencsi says knowing how tuition and mandatory fees impact students directly, the board of governors made a similar motion last year, and college staff made sure through its 2019-20 budget process to put that revenue into areas that support students.
“Last year, the CNC Students’ Union came to us and requested a grant to support some initiatives for campus life, and we looked at extending hours for some of our support services, such as [information technology],” she said.
Szerencsi says CNC is in the consultation phase of its budget process for 2020-21 and has met with staff from the various campuses and with the students’ union, and the college will be holding public consultation sessions on Jan. 31.
“We’re definitely looking for input and ways to further support students,” she said.
CNC’s current five-year strategic plan is scheduled to end in 2020. The Board has approved plans for CNC President Dr. Dennis Johnson to lead the planning and development of a new five-year strategic plan starting in the new year.
“The development of a new strategic plan will include broad research and stakeholder consultation to ensure the priorities of CNC reflect the changing realities of the region,” Johnson said. “We are committed to sharing more information about the development of the plan as the process unfolds.”
CNC’s Board of Governors also announced two new student representatives who joined the Board in November. Kyndra Farrell and Navjot Singh Brar were elected by students to represent the CNC student body on the Board and will serve a one-year term.